It all started around 8 p.m. on Monday, just after weekly deadlines were locked in, when guys, including superstar Kyrie Irving, started dropping like flies. Tuesday’s Dose sadly looks at what was supposed to be a quiet seven-game night, but turned into a bloodbath. And if you own Josh Smith, Ersan Ilyasova or Klay Thompson, stick around until the end of the column, as I’ll attempt to talk you off the ledge. I feel like a more appropriate nickname for me would be Dr. Downer after this one.
Monday, Bloody Monday
Kyrie Irving will be out four weeks for the Cavs with a hairline fracture in his left index finger. This is terrible news, especially for those of us stuck with him in a weekly lineup for zero games played. Donald Sloan and Jeremy Pargo will pick up the slack at point guard, while Dion Waiters remains a must-own player. Daniel Gibson is also worth keeping an eye on, but if I had to guess, Sloan is the guy with the experience here for Byron Scott, although I wouldn’t call him a must-own player just yet. Tristan Thompson will play with a mask after suffering a nasal fracture, but is coming off back-to-back double-doubles and should be able to play through it.
Stephen Jackson was a popular pick up with four games for the Spurs and Kawhi Leonard sidelined this week, but lasted just 10 minutes before suffering a broken pinkie finger that will keep him out from four to six weeks. Danny Green is the main beneficiary here.
Stephen Curry hurt his right ankle yet again and was visibly upset just after it happened. Remarkably, the Warriors let him stay in the game and his play actually improved. Hopefully it’s nothing, but if I own Curry, I cross my fingers and plan on spending a lot of time watching the Rotoworld News page over the Thanksgiving break. He finished with 31 points, six rebounds, nine assists, two steals and three 3-pointers, as well as hit all 10 of his free throws. Let’s pray his ankle is fine after he sleeps on it.
James Harden played through the flu on Monday, but didn’t start the second half for Houston due to the illness and never returned to the game. The good news is he just has the same flu bug that is making its way through the league, and owners have to hope he’s ready to roll on Wednesday against the Bulls
Paul Pierce is dealing with a sprained ankle but thinks he’ll be ready to go on Wednesday vs. San Antonio. Consider him a game-time decision for that one, but my guess is he’ll play.
Anthony Davis tweaked his left ankle yet again on Saturday, but says he’s fine. We’ll find out if that’s true on Tuesday when the Hornets play the Knicks, but it sounds like he’ll play.
Dwyane Wade went through a full practice on Monday for the Heat and appears to be on track to play Wednesday against the Bucks. The Heat play just two games this week, so don’t feel bad if you put him on your bench, and consider him a game-time decision for now.
Kyle Lowry is still not participating in Raptors practices and there is no timetable for his return from an ankle injury, other than hoping he’ll be back by the end of the month. Jose Calderon remains a must-own player until further notice.
Brooklyn’s Deron Williams had some dental work done and is dealing with a sore elbow, but appears to be ready to go for Tuesday’s game against the Lakers.
Dallas’ Dirk Nowitzki has picked up his “activity level” as he recovers from knee surgery, but we still don’t have a timetable on his return. Hopefully he’s back by Christmas, if not earlier.
Minnesota’s Nikola Pekovic is expected to play on Wednesday after missing time with a sprained ankle. Brandon Roy’s seventh knee surgery will keep him out about a month and I see no reason to hold him. J.J. Barea is still not practicing with the Wolves due to a foot injury and he could miss more time. These are just another couple reasons to own Alexey Shved (who is nearly must-own at this point).
Vince Carter went down with a right hamstring injury and went to the Mavs’ locker room, but surprisingly returned to the game in the fourth quarter. This is another one to keep an eye on, as he could miss time if he doesn’t feel great in the morning.
Gerald Henderson’s foot is getting better, but I would be surprised to see him back in action this week for the Bobcats, which means more good things for Ramon Sessions, who had 23 points last night. Ben Gordon went down with a right knee contusion and didn’t return to Monday’s game, which is more good news for Sessions’ owners. Tyrus Thomas will miss a couple months with a serious left calf injury, which shouldn’t affect too many fantasy owners or the Bobcats, but I’m not in the same boat. He was helping to hold down the fort in my 30-team league while I wait for Kevin Love, but now that honor goes to, gulp, Jan Vesely.
Nick Young has been cleared to play on Tuesday after leaving Sunday’s game with an elevated heart rate. This matters because Doug Collins has benched Dorell Wright in order to get Young more minutes for the Sixers. Young’s not a must-own player, but if you’re looking for a reason to dump Wright, this could be it. Just know that Wright will become relevant again quickly if Jason Richardson’s knee acts up.
Caron Butler suffered a right shoulder injury on Monday and didn’t return to the Clippers’ win over the Spurs. Matt Barnes is now worth a close look, as Butler, despite being nicknamed ‘Tough Juice,’ isn’t the fastest of healers. Barnes had 14 points, nine boards and three steals in 35 minutes, and is probably worth grabbing in deeper leagues.
J.J. Redick and Jameer Nelson both played through the flu on Monday, and while both of them pretty much stunk up the gym for the Magic, they at least played. Don’t drop either of them.